9 October 2010 Posted by Fred Beckhusen History


Brunswick Bowling & Billiards Corporation was developing a new concept in bowling systems called Bowler Vision.   A part of this new system concept was to be a computerized color display of the trajectory, velocity, and position of the bowling ball during the game.   All of the past attempts using lasers, ultrasonic, sonar, and infra-red beams had failed to meet the accuracy, precision, and cost goals of the system.


MTSI developed in Phase I a 4-bit, black & white proof of concept system.   This design showed that orange colored bowling balls would become a detection problem, as they trended to blend into the wood background.  Lighting and reflections had to be carefully controlled.

A new color system was then developed using the results from Phase I.    The system used 6-bit resolution when tracking the moving objects. 

Software algorithms were designed to detect the orange balls, and switch to a different tracking mechanism when they were located.  Automatic calibration routines were developed to periodically adjust the system to the current lane lighting.


MTSI produced hundreds of bowling ball tracker systems while Brunswick set up production lines and test facilities.  A key portion of the new Bowler Vision system is a reality.